STOCKHOLM (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron was welcomed Tuesday with pomp and ceremony at the start of a two-day state visit to Sweden during which he will meet Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and the Scandinavian country’s monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Macron and his wife, Brigitte, were greeted by the king in the inner courtyard of the downtown Stockholm royal castle that is the official residence of the Swedish royals. There, Macron and Carl Gustaf reviewed members of the Grenadier Guards that had lined up.
Later Tuesday, Macron is set to discuss the future of European security at a military academy in Stockholm, together with Kristersson and the king.
The war in Ukraine and Sweden’s NATO application are likely to be on the table.
After more than a year of delays, Turkey earlier this month completed its ratification of Sweden’s bid to join NATO, meaning Hungary is now the last member of the military alliance not to have given its approval. All NATO countries must agree before a new member can join the alliance.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Sweden and neighboring Finland abandoned their traditional positions of military nonalignment to seek protection under NATO’s security umbrella. Finland joined the alliance last year.
The French president initially was to travel to Sweden in late October, but the visit was postponed due to the Gaza war that began with Hamas’ attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.